Make smart decisions about your efforts and costs for development learning experiences
It’s not an easy task to estimate the cost (time and other things) of designing and developing content for an audience. Particularly when there is an educational intention for what is produced. One survey of learning-instructional designers identified learning-contact-to-development-effort time ratios ranging from 1:22 to 1:125 (and even higher into the 700s!). That is – one learner contact hour to twenty-two hours of design and development work, at a minimum! The range is so great because of the many variables for which to account in estimating effort of skill and co-operative interactions.
Like many areas of expertise, experts are aware of the factors and considerations to navigate. Here’s a list of such factors which we consider and know will influence the amount of effort, time and costs to produce what you are thinking about. They are represented as multiple aspects on a continuum with increasing complexity (and time/effort) as things move to the right side of a continuum.
Working with an experienced knowledgable Learning Designer expedites the journey through design and development territory in consideration of these factors. It enables the creation of a quality solution.
NATURE OF PRODUCT
Curriculum context of product
Indicates potential dependencies with other learning products/product development projects in initial development, and ongoing delivery.
Indicates requirements for breadth and depth of learning; and expectations of the type of learning outcomes enabled. [Based on Bloom’s taxonomy of knowledge (comprehension); attitude (affect) and skill (competency).]
Indicates considerations of pre-requisite knowledge of learner; necessity to meet requirements to enter; expectations of fit with other learning; and pitching the content and outcomes of this learning at the appropriate level.
Style of educational product
Indicates the nature of interactions between learner(s) and facilitator/coach(s), and between learners across a learning experience.
Learning interactivity (level of)
Indicates the scope and degree of learning interactivity that is expected of the learning experience.
Participants served per event
Influences the nature of the learning activities included in the learning product; and the scope for social interaction as part of the learning experience.
Indicates the nature of the content; and formation of the learning outcomes in order to meet other’s expectations of the educational rigour in the learning design.
Indicates the substance of what must be produced to enable delivery; and the breadth and depth of support needed for delivery activity.
Delivery resources (volume of)
Indicates the breadth and depth of things to be produced to support learning and initial considerations about branding, and ongoing considerations of storage-administration and maintainance-improvements. Things to be used by Facilitator-Instructor and/or given to Learners – may include case study, quizzes, assignments, videos, learning activities, presentation slides, etc.
BUSINESS CONTEXT & INFRASTRUCTURE
Age and intention of the product
Indicates the nature and scope of the design-and-development work, including the potential for re-use of content.
Indicates sales and marketing considerations; expectations of delivery scalability; requirements of ongoing maintainance; customer influence in product quality; customer expectations of appropriate price point; depth and breadth of product development process and stakeholder involvement, e.g. marketing.
Indicates the potential for negotiations and agreements to ensure appropriate use of IP; maintaining relationships with IP owners; as well as ongoing maintainance considerations and expectations of being current with evolving IP.
Indicates the degree of confidence to be had in using IP; and ongoing maintainance-update implications for the learning product.
Technology context for product
Indicates requirements of ongoing maintainance and updates; additional cost considerations for hosting-service; costs of support and administration; minimal level of participant ability to use; considerations for outages/service interuptions; dependencies and integrations with other technologies. Includes Learning Management Systems (LMS), authoring and production tools, platforms for sharing and collaboration, etc.
Product owner involvement
Indicates the need for co-operation and the degree of influence to accommodate with product owners; the range of preferences and perspectives to consider and maintain within a context of future product licencing agreements.
Business stakeholders involvement
Indicates the need for co-operation and the degree of influence to accommodate with business stakeholders; the range of preferences and perspectives to consider and apply within the contexts of initial production and ongoing maintainance.
Learner stakeholder involvement
Indicates the degree of influence to accommodate with learner stakeholders (past, present or prospective); the range of preferences and perspectives to consider and apply within the contexts of initial production and ongoing maintainance.
Indicates the degree of influence to accommodate with facilitator/instructor stakeholders (past, present or prospective); the range of preferences and perspectives to consider and apply within the contexts of initial production and ongoing maintainance.
Subject-matter-expert (SME) source
Indicates the degree of influence to accommodate with subject-matter-experts; the range of preferences and perspectives to consider and apply within the contexts of initial production and ongoing maintainance.